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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff’s action brought under the Kansas Judicial Review Act (KJRA) based upon the decision of the University of Kansas to deny Plaintiff promotion and tenure, holding that the University’s decision was supported by substantial evidence. The district court dismissed Plaintiff’s action for lack of prosecution. Plaintiff refiled within six months, relying on the savings statute, Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-518, to make her action timely. The district court ruled against Plaintiff on the merits of her challenge to the University’s decision. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded to the University to begin the promotion and tenure consideration process anew. The University appealed, arguing that section 6-518 should not have been applied and that the decision to deny Plaintiff promotion and tenure was supported by substantial evidence. The Supreme Court held (1) the savings statute applied to make Plaintiff’s KJRA action timely; but (2) the University’s decision was supported by substantial evidence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 77-621(c)(7). View "Harsay v. University of Kansas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for premeditated first-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the trial court did not commit reversible error by admitting evidence of Defendant’s prior domestic violence to show motive; (2) the trial court did not commit reversible error by denying Defendant’s request for jury instruction on the affirmative defense of self-defense and on the lesser-included offense of involuntary manslaughter; and (3) there was no prosecutorial error that required a harmlessness analysis. View "State v. Haygood" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of attempted voluntary manslaughter, second-degree murder, and criminal possession of a firearm, holding that the district judge erred by failing to instruct the jury on imperfect self-defense involuntary manslaughter but that the error did not require reversal. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial judge erred by not instructing the jury on a theory of imperfect self-defense involuntary manslaughter as a lesser included crime for the charge of second-degree murder. The Court of Appeals rejected the claim, ruling that such an instruction was not factually inappropriate. The Supreme Court affirmed but on different grounds, holding that the trial judge’s error in failing to instruct the jury on imperfect self-defense involuntary manslaughter as a lesser included offense of second-degree murder was not clear error. View "State v. Pulliam" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court ordering Defendant to pay $10,800 in restitution to a couple with whom Defendant and her daughter had been living at the time Defendant committed the crimes for which she was convicted, holding that Defendant should have been giving a hearing on the restitution issue. Defendant pled nolo contendere to two counts of interfering with law enforcement by falsely reporting a crime. After the district court sentenced Defendant, Defendant appealed the restitution order, arguing that the district court erred by declining to conduct a restitution hearing at which Defendant was present and by ordering a restitution plan that was unworkable. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the restitution order and remanded for the district court to conduct a restitution hearing, holding that the district court’s summary holding that the appropriate amount of restitution would necessarily exceed Defendant’s ability to pay was apparently based on an incorrect legal hearing. View "State v. Martin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of first-degree premeditated murder and criminal possession of a firearm, holding that there was no prejudicial error in the trial proceedings. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was no prosecutorial error during closing arguments where the evidence supported the prosecutor’s suggestion that Defendant’s testimony was unbelievable; (2) trial court did not abuse its discretion in overruling Defendant’s claim of racial discrimination during jury selection and in concluding that the prosecutor had a valid race-neutral reasons to strike each juror; and (3) trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting gruesome autopsy photographs. View "State v. Williams" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court summarily denying Appellant’s motion to correct and illegal sentence, holding that Appellant’s claims could not be raised in a motion to correct an illegal sentence. In his motion, Appellant argued that his hard forty sentence was illegal because the sentencing jury considered inadmissible hearsay evidence and was wrongly instructed that it needed unanimously to recommend the hard fifteen sentence. The district court summarily denied Appellant’s motions, concluding that a motion to correct an illegal sentence was not the appropriate vehicle to raise his challenges to his sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant could not raise his arguments in his motion to correct an illegal sentence. View "State v. Alford" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the district court granting summary judgment to The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Company on Daniel Becker’s insurance coverage dispute with the company, holding that the lower courts erroneously relied upon certain caselaw in granting summary judgment and that, under the correct caselaw, questions of fact remained that were inappropriate for summary judgment. Specifically, the Court held (1) the lower courts erred in relying on the “expansion of coverage” rule in concluding that Becker was asking for the coverage to be expanded beyond the insurance contract’s terms and that that courts should instead have continued their analysis to see if estoppel was appropriate to apply to the facts under the “reservation of rights” rule; and (2) because several genuine issues of material fact remained on the issue of estoppel, this case must be remanded for further proceedings. View "Becker v. Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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In this appeal from a district court’s order terminating a natural father’s parental rights, the Supreme Court reversed the rulings of the lower courts and remanded to the district court with directions to conduct proceedings effectuating a change in custody consistent with this opinion, holding that no rational fact-finder could have found it highly probable that Father made no reasonable effort to support or communicate with the child after having knowledge of the child’s birth. When Father’s child was born, Mother put the newborn up for adoption. Father only learned of both the pregnancy and birth four days before the prospective adoptive parents filed for termination of Father’s parental rights. With no knowledge about the adoption action, Father filed a petition to establish paternity. The district court ultimately terminated Father’s parental rights. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the lower courts erred by failing to focus on all the circumstances when determining whether clear and convincing evidence demonstrated that Father made “no reasonable efforts” to support or communicate with his child after knowledge of his birth. View "In re Adoption of C.L. video" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for child abuse and felony murder, holding that the instances of prosecutorial error in this case did not require reversal, either individually or cumulatively. Specifically, the Court held that the prosecutor exceeded the wide latitude afforded to prosecutors on three occasions during closing argument, but the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the error did not affect the trial’s outcome in light of the entire record. Further, the Court held that the cumulative effective of the claimed errors did not deprive Defendant of a fair trial. View "State v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals to dismiss Defendant’s appeal of the district court’s failure to modify his guideline sentence upon revocation of his probation and remanded to the Court of Appeals to reinstate the appeal, holding that the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the appeal based on an incorrect determination that it lacked jurisdiction. Defendant was convicted of unlawful possession of hydrocodone. About halfway through his probation period, the State filed a motion to revoke Defendant’s probation. Prior to the hearing on that motion, Defendant filed a motion for resentencing upon revocation. The district court revoked probation, denied Defendant’s motion to modify his sentence, and imposed the original underlying sentence. The Court of Appeals dismissed Defendant’s appeal, concluding that it lacked jurisdiction to revise the district court’s decision on probation revocation disposition because the sentence imposed was a presumptive sentence. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Court of Appeals did have jurisdiction to hear Defendant’s appeal because the district court’s decision to deny Defendant’s motion for modification at that probation revocation hearing, leaving the original presumptive sentence in place, was appealable. View "State v. Weekes" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law